"I do not know any politicians."

Translation:Én nem ismerek politikusokat.

August 24, 2016

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Why are the suffixes -ok and -at? Shouldn't they be -ok -ot or -ak-at?


This is such a good question!

Well, fiirst of all note that the nominative plural & the accusative singular are usually identical except for the very last sound (which is k or t, respectively.) (There are some exceptions, such as (szó, szavak, szót) or (oldal, oldalak, oldalt), but you get the point.)

Now if there is a connecting vowel (whatever its name is), there are two options: it can be either open: a/e or mid: o/ö/e (this last "E" was historically pronounced like a short "E". These "closed E's"might be used some dialectical speakers, but it's extremely rare. It's usually written as "Ë", by the way, not like it's any important.) Examples:

ablak ablakok ablakot (window)

kép képek képet (image, picture)

ördög ördögök ördögöt (devil)

könyv könyvek könyvet (book)

hal halak halat (fish)

Now, the trick is that in the plural accusative the last connecting vowel is always open (a/e.) So politikus takes a mid-vowel (like most of recent loanwords), you get politikusok, but that must have -at in the end. So politikusokat!


http://www.nyest.hu/hirek/mit-szeretsz-jobban-az-alpokat-vagy-az-alpokot It discusses this whole topic to talk about the conjugation of "Alpok" (Alps) later. Alpok is historically plural, but some speakers use it as singular.



Köszönöm szépen! Wow, that is very helpful! I think I missed the thing about plural accusative having to be open. Thanks again!


Now, just to throw in one more twist: "politikus" can be both a noun and an adjective. If you use it as a noun, the plural will be

"politikusok" - politicians.

If you use it as an adjective, the plural will be

"politikusak" - political(s).

"These politicians are very political." - "Ezek a politikusok nagyon politikusak."

Maybe Hungarian does not use "politikus" as an adjective very often, but here is another example: "okos" - smart, clever.

"The smart ones say very smart (things)" - "Az okosok nagyon okosakat mondanak".

It seems to me that noun/adjective combos ending in "-s" can behave like this. Not sure though how wide-spread this phenomenon is. Certainly not all can be used like this. But here are a few more:

vörösök - vörösek
pirosok - pirosak
laikusok - laikusak
gyorsok - gyorsak

Maybe it has to do with adjectives that came to be used as nouns.

But in any case, the accusative of any plural word can only be "-at"/"-et". So,

politikusokat - politikusakat
vörösöket - vöröseket


I'm not sure how much people actually use "gyorsok" besides the very definite meaning of "express" - which is fairly specific compared to "fast ones". So while the example is valid for the noun/adjective distinction, I think it's more than that in that case.


Why not "én nem politikusokat ismerek"?


I am not a Hungarian speaker, but I think that would mean "I know people who are not politicians." Or, literally "I know not-politicians."


That's right. I do know people but they aren't politicians.


Why isn't "En nem tudom" okay? I've used tudni and ismerni interchagably?


tudni and ismerni are not interchangeable and, in fact, I think usually only one of them is appropriate at a time. tudni is to have knowledge or ability of something, like knowing how to swim or knowing where someone's house is. Whereas ismerni is to be familiar with somebody or something (usually people, but not always)

So, for example, maybe you "ismerem" your neighbor because you see him walking by and say hi every day, but you don't "tudom" his name; or you "ismerem" that restaurant that you ate at last night, but you don't "tudom" where exactly it is.


I'd like to add that definite conjugation isn't appropriate here anyway, no matter the verb. "any politicians", or literally more like "no politicians" is considered indefinite. So, "ismerem" is still a no, "ismerek" is a yes.


Do NOT use personal pronouns in Hungarian especially not 'én' and especially not at the beggining of a sentence unless you want to emphasise it's ME and not you. Duo is obsessed with it and it's so very wrong!

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